There is a Richie Cunningham-likeability to Brian Bannister. Polite, modest, hard working, saying “stop by anytime,” to those who dropped by his locker in spring training, whether for an interview or just to say hello.
He went to USC as a walk-on second baseman because he wanted to make it on his own, rather than attend Arizona State University, and ride the coattails of his father, Floyd, a 15-year major leaguer.
Anybody who wants to carve his own legacy, and is astute enough to have his post-career vocation chosen before throwing his first pitch, is somebody with a stable base.
He’s somebody you root for.
Writers want short games and good stories. Bannister is a good story.
He makes his major league debut tonight, weather permitting, at Shea Stadium. It was snowing earlier and may again tonight, not what he expected as the backdrop for his first game this season.
Then again, with the way he looks at things, he thought his first game might have been in Norfolk, Va., so this is no big deal to him.